BGE warns customers: 'Scammers working harder than ever'

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is warning customers to beware of scammers. 

Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility company released a notice Thursday notifying people that scammers are aggressively targeting customers in new ways.

According to BGE, swindlers take advantage of the hot summer months to trick customers into providing personal or financial information and making payments in order to keep their service active.

Scammers, the company says, are also attempting to take advantage of the economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic and inflation to pressure families and businesses who may be struggling with past-due balances.

"Scammers are targeting BGE’s customers every day, especially during this time of economic uncertainty and extreme heat," said Denise Galambos, senior vice president of Customer Operations and Chief Customer Officer for BGE. "We want everyone to know that we will never ask you to pay with a prepaid cash card or cryptocurrency, and that any customer who has questions about their bill or may need assistance with a payment should contact us immediately so that we can help you maintain your energy service."

Common schemes targeting BGE customers involve scammers' use of technology to replicate a company's phone number through caller ID — also known as "spoofing" — and then threatening to turn off a customer's service unless they make a direct payment with a prepaid cash card or cryptocurrency.

BGE also warned that some scams involve imposters posing as BGE employees to gain entry into a customer's home to steal belongings. Other activities involve scammers sending emails to businesses, and requesting that they send bill payments to counterfeit pay sites.

BGE released the following tips to help identify scams:

1. BGE will never come to a customer's home or business to:
Demand a payment.
·Ask for immediate payment with a prepaid cash card.
·Ask for their BGE account number or other personal information, such as a driver's license number.

2. BGE will never call a customer to:
·Ask for their account number.
·Ask for personal information such as their Social Security number or bank information.
·Ask them to make a direct payment with a prepaid cash card or cryptocurrency.

3. To identify an actual BGE employee, remember:
·All BGE gas and electric employees wear a uniform with the BGE logo, including shirt and safety vest.
·BGE employees visibly display a company ID badge with BGE’s logo and their name.
·Note: two versions of BGE’s logo currently exist. Any customer who is uncertain should call BGE at 410.685.0123.

Any customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call BGE immediately to report the situation.